Monkeypox Virus Infection in Humans: Past and new potential threat at our doorstep


  • Baye Gelaw


In 1980, the World Health Assembly announced that smallpox had been successfully eradicated as a disease of humans. The disease clinically and immunologically most similar to smallpox is monkeypox, a zoonosis endemic to moist forested regions in West and Central Africa [1]. The name monkeypox originates from the initial discovery of the virus in monkeys in a Danish laboratory in 1958 [2]. The first case in humans was diagnosed in 1970 in a 9-month old baby boy in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC). Since that time, monkeypox has become endemic in the DRC, and has spread to other African countries, mainly in Central and West Africa [3].